Here we go again: it’s time for “Drinking with Satan.” Let’s review: in this column, I stupidly get myself immersed in several layers of booze and review, to use that term lightly, an upcoming or recently released black metal album. It’s good fun…less so for me than for you. But let’s be real, I’m doing this for you guys anyway. Well, you guys and Satan, that is. I’m a giver, after all.
Anyway, full disclosure, I didn’t want to write this tonight. In fact, I hate all of you for the peer pressure of getting this done for tomorrow’s run. As I start this, it’s 10:30 PM on Thursday night—the night before this is due to run. I was in Boston from 6:00 AM until about 20 minutes ago working…and maybe a drinking little after. Okay, drinking a lot after. (Mostly Harpoon IPA, because I don’t respect myself.) Anyway, It was a long day and I kinda lost the motivation (and the buzz) during the early stages of the trip back. However, like the true champion I am, I rallied. While sitting in bullshit I-95 traffic hating everyone, I took a glimpse at the artwork for the album I’m going to be talking about and all of a sudden my inspiration was reborn. I thought, “Hey, I hate humanity. I’m in a bad mood. This looks evil. Let’s discuss it… with myself… when I get home.”
So here I am. Episode 2 of “Drinking with Satan” (the game YOU always win and I always lose) features Balmog‘s Svmma Fide, while I dabble in the wondrous liquids of Ayinger Bräu Weisse (5.1% ABV), Lagunitas NightTime (8.2%), and Andean Brewing Company’s Kuka Golden Ale (9.2%). Oh. And I’m chasing this all with Johnnie Walker Black Label. Why? Because it tastes like a fucking camp fire and I like fucking camp fires. So leave me alone. Shall we begin? The answer rhymes with “yes.”
Are you fucking kidding me with this artwork? Seriously? I thought Abhor did some badass shit earlier in the year, but this easily takes the cake. I love imagery. I would make love to this imagery. I would fucking cuddle the shit out of this. I’m no cuddler. I have cuddled. I can cuddle. But I’m no cuddler. This…this I would cuddle. But without compromising just how damn evil this looks. Basically, I would hate-cuddle the shit out of this thing. I think… I think I’m gonna go light my own candles in honor of how wonderful this is. Sadly, I don’t have any spare skulls lying around. But the hand gripping the skull with the candle as the only light source… it’s absolute perfection in cover art. Traditional, yet artistic. And I’m now out of Black Label. Frowny face.
As I work my way through “Witness”, I’ve decided that this is the best kind of black metal out there. What kind of black metal is that, you say? Hold on let me research specifics… Spanish. This is Spanish black metal. Ok nevermind. I guess you could say this is traditional black metal? You get your symphonic flavors (almost early Dimmu-esque leads), with a very rhythmic percussion, and howling growls. And the production doesn’t suck! I love things that don’t suck. In comparison, last month, I listened to what was really total shit on all level. Things that are shit remind me of the Numberwang Board Game. If you don’t know what is… familiarize yourself. This is the opposite. Here we already have quality in production and musicianship. The leads are clearly defined, yet the raw emotions that are necessary in black metal aren’t lost at all. A hell of a start for Balmog.
The second song is called “Bring vs, Guide vs”… I think. To be honest I don’t entirely trust the copy of the album I acquired. If that is it, it’s a rather curious title. Or curious grammar. I like not-grammar either way, so it works. But anyway… this is ferocious! There is so much hatred going on. You can feel the Satan in Balc’s voice (apparently somebody called ‘Balc’ is the vocalist). Svmma Fide just keeps building on itself with each song. “Der Flvche” is going to be considered one of the most memorable songs of 2015 even though I inevitably won’t even remember writing this (Irony!). It’s symphonic elements and introductory choir vocals remind me of church… Which sarcastically reminds me about how much I don’t respect organized religion. And I like things that remind me of how much I don’t respect religion. Actually, I don’t respect many things. There are probably about… eh, six people I respect in this world. The fact that Svmma Fide reminds me of that immediately projects it into the top handful of albums so far this year. God I’m a dick. God’s a dick. I changed letters so it’s different.
Tangent time. You know what’s fun? A lot of my ‘friends’ are seeing Billy Joel at Fenway Park tonight. I LEFT that area of town to come home, drink alone, and write about black metal… also alone. (I love me.) These high gravity beers… they don’t love me. At least I have something (myself). Anyway. Music and stuff. “Liberate Me” was a nice interlude after a couple of purely evil introductory tracks. But “HΩshek” (whatever that means) does NOT ease the tempo back in. This is absolute relentless from the beginning. The galloping feel of these rhythms is just addicting. I would kill to find myself in a pit with a song like this playing. And I don’t mosh often. Only when I’m kinda drunk actually. Soooo I guess I see that correlation now. You can picture the early 1990’s and believe that if those early influences saw their genre moving in this direction, they would nod their heads in approval. Here, this black metal, it’s just done really, really well.
Sorry I just got super distracted watching more Numberwang videos because they are amazing. Here’s another one. That shit is gold. Also… ran out of beer and had to get more. I’m onto “NΩmen illi mΩrs” and “Ascetic Penitence” now and I just keep becoming more impressed with their delivery of what we would consider classic black metal. The instrumentals work so well together. And what’s so legitimate about this sound is that I really don’t think Balmog is doing anything new or inventive, but they are doing this so fucking well it doesn’t matter. Where other bands or albums have been too raw, or too symphonic, or something else entirely, Balmog keeps their sound exactly where it needs to be: dark, evil, yet organized. As a listener, you can’t help but notice the repeating use of spoken chants within these songs. It’s a fantastic element that just brings things to a new level of darkness. Especially on this latter track, which is almost nine minutes long. These incantations fill much of the otherwise instrumental sections, almost creating a sense of sarcasm. I could apply that sarcasm to a number of things, we all could, especially religious experiences. Of which, open-mindedness just seems lost on so many religious extremists, and that’s my issue with the whole thing. And the root of my fascination with Satan. He’s the polar opposite of what many define as ‘good’, and that’s worth studying. But not now. A little now because I brought it up. But more later because I’m too drunk now. Smiley face.
I’m losing focus. Dan and I are discussing who some of the big announcements for MDF 2016 will be and I’m getting all wrapped up in that shit. So here’s the deal. I’ve heard a lot of things this year that I consider standout classic black metal. This beats all of them. I drunkenly mean that. All of them. I wish I lived in Spain and we were all friends. This music is pure, it’s organic, and it’s filled with hatred and sarcasm, which more or less defines my existence. For all those black metal fans out there, I am convinced this is something we can all appreciate. Balmog has truly created something evil within Svmma Fide. Now, I would very much like to go to bed. Today sucked a fuck, but I got to close it with the best black metal I’ve heard all year while drinking, well, a lot. I’ll call the week a wrap now I think.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”